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This article is the author's final published version in World Neurosurgery: X, Volume 21, January 2024, Article number 100268.

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Copyright © 2023 The Authors.


BACKGROUND: The brain undergoes reorganization following spinal cord injury (SCI), but little is known about how the thalamus is affected in pediatric SCIs.

PURPOSE: To characterize microstructural alterations in the thalamus after SCI with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics.

METHODS: 18 pediatric participants with chronic SCI (8-20 years) were stratified using the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) into groups: A, B, and C/D. DTI of the brain used a 3 T Siemens Verio MRI using the parameters: 20 directions, number of averages = 3, b = 1000 s/mm

DATA ANALYSIS: DTI metrics were acquired by superimposing the AAL3 thalamic atlas onto participant diffusion images registered to MNI152 space. We utilized a multiple Mann-Whitney U-test to compare between AIS groups, considering values of p ≤ 0.05 as significant.

RESULTS: FA, AD, RD, and MD significantly differed in thalamic nuclei between AIS groups A vs B and B vs C/D. Significant nuclei include the right ventral anterior, left intralaminar, bilateral lateral pulvinar, and right lateral geniculate.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest the presence of microstructural alterations based on SCI severity in pediatric patients. These results are encouraging and warrant further study.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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